Macron tells Netanyahu that US recognition of Jerusalem is threat to peace

Call comes as Palestinian human stabs Israeli security guard following Donald Trumps announcement about Jerusalem

Emmanuel Macron, the French chairman, has warned US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital was a” threat to peace” as he hosted the country’s “ministers “, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his first foreign trip since Donald Trump provoked widespread censure with the decision.

The joint appearance by the two men, following talks in Paris, came as tear gas was used to disperse protesters outside the US embassy in Beirut and a Palestinian human stabbed an Israeli security guard at Jerusalem’s central bus station in the first assault in the city since Trump’s announcement.

Palestinian media identified the assailant as 24 -year-old Yasin Abu al-Qur’a from a village near Nablus in the northern West Bank, who reportedly posted on Facebook hours earlier mentioning Jerusalem. Police described as a terrorist attack.

Trump last week declared the US would recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, violating the international consensus on one of the most sensitive issues in relations between Israel and the Palestinians – who wish the capital of a future Palestinian nation to be in the east of the city.

Macron said he had told Netanyahu that Trump’s statement on Jerusalem” is a threat to peace and we are against it” and suggested that an Israeli freeze on settlement house would be an important gesture, proving Israel was committed to peace.

In uncompromising remarks unlikely to calm the ongoing crisis, Netanyahu replied by saying that the sooner Palestinians recognised the reality that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, the sooner there would be peace.

He also lashed out at the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he would not” take lecturings” from someone who bombs Kurdish villages, supportings Iran and “terrorists” in Gaza.

Several rockets were fird from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on Thursday and Friday following Trump’s declaration, resulting Israel to respond with airstrikes that killed two people.

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Why is recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital so contentious?

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Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict between Israel and the Palestinians , none is as sensitive as the situation of women Jerusalem. The holy city has been at the centre of peace-making efforts for decades.

Seventy years ago, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab nations, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the city’s borders and annexed it- an act that was never recognised internationally.

Israel routinely describes the city, with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy place, as its” united and eternal” capital. For their portion, the Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future independent Palestinian nation. The unequivocal international position, accepted by all previous US administrations, is that the city’s status must be addressed in peace negotiations.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sets the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimises Israeli settlement-building in the east- considered illegal under international law.

Photograph: Thomas Coex/ AFP

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Macron has been resulting European criticism of the US decision and rang Trump before his announcement to alert him of the likely damaging outcomes for the Palestinian peace process. Before Netanyahu’s visit, he and Erdogan spoke by telephone about a joint diplomatic approach to try to persuade the US to row back on Jerusalem.

He began his pre-prepared remarks alongside Netanyahu with a clear disapproval” of all forms of attacks in the last hours and days against Israel .”

Graphic footage of the incident in Jerusalem demonstrated the attacker calmly handing his coat to the security guard before abruptly plunging a large knife into the guard’s chest. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the guard sustained a serious meander to his upper body and the attacker was apprehended.

In Beirut, meanwhile, Lebanese security force broke up a protest outside the heavily guarded US embassy with teargas after demonstrators pelted them with stones.

Protesters, some of them waving Palestinian flags, lit flames in the street and threw objects at members of the security forces who had barricaded the main road to the embassy.

Addressing the protesters, the head of the Lebanese Communist party, Hanna Gharib, declared Washington” the enemy of Palestine” and said the embassy was ” a emblem of imperialist aggressivenes” that must be closed.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, defended Trump’s decision saying it reflected his appreciation for such facts on the ground and – without devoting details – that it would advance peace talks.

” You’ve got the parliament, the president, the cabinet of ministers, the supreme court, so why shouldn’t we have the embassy there ?” she told CBS.

” When you recognise the truth, when both parties recognise reality, peace comes. We are living in the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel .”

She said US allies in the Middle East are the most worried about Iran’s growing influence in the region, where Washington was ” in lockstep” with them.

The US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital has nevertheless infuriated the Arab world and upset western friends, who say it is a blow to peace efforts and dangers causing further unrest.

The Vatican on Sunday said Pope Francis was praying so that” leaders of nations” commit themselves to work to” forestalls a new spiraling of violence” over Jerusalem. Its statement reiterated the Vatican position on” the essential need for respecting the status quo “.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in 1967, to be occupied territory. They say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Netanyahu is on Monday due in Brussels where he will fulfill the EU foreign policy chief, Frederica Mogherini, and hold a working breakfast with 27 EU foreign ministers. Before he left Israel for Europe he was critical of EU leaders, who have also condemned the building of Israeli settlements in West Bank.

” While I respect Europe, I am not prepared to accept a doubled criterion from it ,” Netanyahu said on Saturday evening.” I hear voices from there condemning President Trump’s historic statement, but I have not heard condemnations of the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it. I am not prepared to accept this hypocrisy .”

Arab League foreign ministers met for hours on Saturday to denounce the US decision as illegitimate and unlawful, but appeared to have held back from taking any new measures.

The Arab League chief, Ahmed Abul Gheit, said Trump’s decision was ” against international law and raises questions over American efforts to support peace” between Palestine and Israel.

The shift in US policy undermined Arab confidence in the Trump administration and amounted to the legalisation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, he added.

The pastors reiterated that such a move had no legal impact and was void, adding:” it deepens tension, kindles anger and threatens to plunge region into more violence and chaos .”

The ministers agreed to” demand that the United States rescind its decision on Jerusalem … and the calling on the international community to recognise the state of Palestine … with east Jerusalem as its capital ,” said the statement.

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Trump too busy and important to face defamation lawsuit, president’s lawyers claim

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, is suing Trump for libel after he accused her of lying about sexual harassment in 2007

Can you sue the president? The finer phases of this question were subject to much legal sparring on Tuesday when a lawyer for Donald Trump argued for the dismissal of a lawsuit that threatens to reignite one of dozens of accusations of sexual assault facing the president.

The lawsuit was brought by a former contestant on The Apprentice, Summer Zervos, who claims Trump kissed her and groped her breast during a 2007 meeting to discuss business opportunities at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Trump thunderously denied her accusations, along with those of other women he called politically motivated liars. Zervos is suing Trump for defamation.

Or instead, she’s trying. In a hearing before a New York judge, Jennifer Schechter, to determine the case’s future, Trump’s attorney Marc Kasowitz argued that Zervos shouldn’t be allowed to proceed with her suit.

Trump’s refusals were political speech, he said, protected from legal action, and a suit would prevent the president, who holds a singular office, from perform such job.

” The chairman is the person who runs the executive branch ,” Kasowitz said.” He needs to be available 24/7.”

The potential impact of Zervos’s lawsuit, if she is allowed to proceed, is immeasurable. It would almost certainly link Trump’s name more permanently to the scores of powerful humen lately accused of sexual misconduct.

There is a chance Trump could be compelled to testify, something that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings when he was revealed to have lied under oath.

Her lawsuit could also expose Trump, who faced approximately 75 lawsuits where reference is assumed the presidency, to a inundation of litigation.

For political commentators, the case brings a wave of deja vu. In 1997, the US supreme court ruled a chairwoman could be sued for private conduct that took place before he assumed office. The lawsuit in question was brought against Clinton by Paula Jones, on claims that he sexually harassed her.

But lawyers for Trump have said the supreme court ruling does not apply to New York nation law.

On Tuesday, a member of Zervos’s legal team, Mariann Meier Wang, called those arguments” creative debates out of a footnote in Clinton v Jones “.

” What better court to hear a libel claim against a born and bred New Yorker who built many of his libelous statements simply up in Midtown ?” she asked.” We do not dispute the fact that the president holds a singular office, but the individual who holds that office is not above the law .”

Zervos accused Trump of assault in October 2016 at the law offices of the women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who is also representing her in her suit. She said Trump, during their 2007 encounter, greeted her for a session to discuss job opportunities with an open-mouthed kiss, then attempted to steer her toward the bedroom of the bungalow where they met.

” Let’s lay down and watch some telly-telly ,” she claimed he said. When she replied,” C’mon man, get real ,” he recurred after her-” Get real”- and thrust his genitals at her.

On the campaign trail, Trump called her accusations and others’ “phoney”, ” 100% false” and” outright lies” induced for political or monetary gain.

Schechter did not immediately rule on whether the case could proceed. And there were signs that she would weigh not only the specifics of existing case law, but also the unprecedented nature of the Trump presidency in building the call.

Can Trump be held liable for a retweet? the magistrate asked. Yes, said Wang, if it constituted a” substantive addition to the commentary “.

At one point, Schechter asked what would happen if the president simply refused to follow one of her orders. Wang said she didn’t think that would be a problem.

Schecter seemed sympathetic to debates that Trump is, in contrast to what his lawyers have said , not incapable of participating in a lawsuit while doing their exercise of his office. If the lawyers’ assert is the truth, she said during Wang’s arguments, Congress would have changed the law after Jones sued Clinton.

But in his rebuttal, Kasowitz was contended that Trump’s harshest statements about his accusers- such as saying they were “liars” motivated by money- weren’t specific to Zervos herself but to” generalized, broad and vague charges “.

He added that speech made in the commotion of a political campaign, at rallies and in press releases was ” protected political speech “.

” Although events happened almost a decade ago,[ Zervos] insured fit, three weeks before the election, to come forward and build claims about the president that the president denied, but to construct claims that would be damaging to the election the president participate on at that time ,” Kasowitz said.” She started a back-and-forth ,” he said.” That’s politics .”

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Why Trumps assertion of Jerusalem as capital of Israel would be a catastrophe | Nicholas Blincoe

Relocating the US embassy would derail hopes for peace by recognising Israels hostile military occupation, says Nicholas Blincoe, writer of Bethlehem: Biography of a Town

It is harder than it ought to be, explaining why recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a bad idea. The city has been Israel’s centre of government since 1948. While most countries have held off, the US Congress passed a Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, which included a line recognising the city as Israel’s capital. President Trump campaigned on a promise to implement the act, and though he has previously followed other chairwomen in signing waivers suspending it, this week “hes having” missed two deadlines, suggesting that he is strongly seduced to give it the go-ahead.

If he does, it will derail the last hope of peace, according to the Palestinian Authority, and degrade US influence in the world, as countries including Turkey have warned. These may not seem like persuasive debates. The US has willingly surrendered much of its standing; there is no peace process; and the reputation of both Turkey and the Palestinian Authority is low. But recognising Israel’s current version of Jerusalem would create enormous and new insoluble problems without addressing the real issues that beset the city.

Israel merely captured the old city and adjoining Palestinian suburbiums such as Silwan in 1967. A hastily written law was pushed through the Knesset proclaiming the territory had been annexed to Israel, and the city of Jerusalem had been “reunited”. According to the Geneva Conventions, territory acquired through war is under” hostile military occupation” in a formula that has suffered since the defeat of fascism. Successive Israeli governments have argued the terms of the conventions do not apply to Jerusalem. However, in December 2016, the UN took a election reiterating that the Palestinian territories were under hostile occupation. Israel’s attempt to pressure Trump’s transition team in the runup to the vote has now come within the scope of the Mueller investigation.

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Why would moving the US embassy to Jerusalem be so contentious?

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Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict between Israel and the Palestinians , none is as sensitive as the situation of women Jerusalem. The holy city has been at the centre of peace-making efforts for decades.

Seventy years ago, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervising. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the city’s bounds and annexed it- an act that was never recognised internationally.

Israel routinely describes the city, with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy places, as its” united and eternal” capital. For their portion, the Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future independent Palestinian nation. The unequivocal international view, agreed to by all previous US administrations, is that the city’s status must be addressed in peace negotiations.

Any move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would put the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimise Israeli settlement-building in the east considered illegal under international law.

Photograph: Thomas Coex/ AFP

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When the organisers of the 2018 Giro d’Italia declared last week that the cycle race, its opening leg in Israel, would start in” west Jerusalem”, they received a sharp reprimand from Israeli minister Miri Regev.” In Israel’s capital ,” she proclaimed,” there is no east and west .” Anyone visiting Jerusalem would speedily see how incorrect she is. The presence of both the army and border police, a militarised gendarmerie, underline that much of the city is under military control. When I was researching in the archives of St George cathedral school, the secretary said to me that frightened she was when the school buzzer reverberate because she did not know if the children would get home safely, or be picked up and beaten or arrested. Border police recruits are little more than adolescents themselves. Their behaviour, and their treatment of arrested children, was the subject of a bill presented to the US Congress last month. But it is not simply the therapy of people in Jerusalem that is the problem.

The city has twice been enlarged in the 50 years since its annexation, a decision taken each time through acts of parliament. Israel’s mutant version of Jerusalem is far larger than any historical iteration of the city. It contains Palestinian townships, villages and refugee camps, as well as Israeli settlements. The Geneva Conventions exist in parallel with human rights legislation, constructing Israel responsible for the welfare of many hundreds of thousands of people. Within these city limits, Israel is presided over by deeply deprived and lawless communities, where substance abuse is endemic and health services are poor or non-existent. These zones have no proper sewage provisions, and neither do the adjoining Jewish zones. The effluent has turned the Kidron stream into an open sewer, polluting the desert and the Dead Sea.

Jerusalem is not divided, impoverished and ungoverned because international law stimulates it so: it is a situation that flows from the territory aspirations unleashed by war. Successive Israeli governments have been unable to cope with problems they have created, and lacked the political will to make a peace that will see Palestinians controlling their own lives. Rather than honestly own the situation, Israel’s leaders have tried to muddy the legal framework that defines the state of the city.

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What is the history of the Palestinian reconciliation efforts?

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The two main Palestinian parties- the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamist militant group Hamas- have run separate governments in the West Bank and Gaza respectively since 2007.

The situation emerged after Hamas defeated Fatah in parliamentary elections in 2006. Fatah refused to recognise the result, leading to a near-civil war that insured Hamas push Fatah out of Gaza.

Numerous endeavors at reconciliation have ensued but the most recent effort seems the most serious yet. The issue of who controls the borders and operates government ministries is a key exam , not least in loosening the Israeli blockade on Gaza, enforced after Hamas took control.

Responsibility for land border crossings- in a coastal strip without a commercial sea port or airport- is crucial, as Palestinians and goods can only traverse by these checkpoints. Both Egypt and Israel will want to ensure that no arms reach Hamas and other groups.

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We live in a climate where international law is under threat. Human rights are attacked as a UN-sponsored industry that enriches the pervert and lazy, while tying the hands of dynamic wealth inventors. Serial attempts to degrade the international order have constructed Israeli politicians the darlings of the political right, and won over businessmen who despise legal restraints.

Trump is a animal of the right and a friend of toxic financiers. One can see why he would argue for appeasement, and legitimise Israel’s acquisitions. But it would be a sordid retreat into chaos and assassination that would fuel the political and moral misfortune in a city beloved by the world.

* Nicholas Blincoe is the author of Bethlehem: Biography of a Town( Nation Books ).

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Trump’s Flynn tweets point to obstruction of justice, say opponents

Feinstein says were beginning to see the putting together of a example after Trump indicates he pressured FBI head to drop investigation despite knowing adviser had lied

Donald Trump is increasingly vulnerable to charges of obstructing justice and may have inadvertently confessed following the prosecution of his former senior aide Michael Flynn, according to legal expert and senior Democrats.

The US president said in a tweet on Saturday that he fired Flynn as national security consultant in February” because he lied to the vice-president and the FBI” about his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the US last December. Flynn pleaded guilty in court on Friday to lying to FBI agents.

This would mean that Trump knew Flynn had committed a serious crime when, according to the former FBI director James Comey, the president asked Comey the next day to halting an FBI investigation into Flynn. On Sunday Trump, who later fired Comey, again denied making such a request.

Multiple legal analysts and critics of the president said Trump’s remark was the clearest indication in so far that he has tried to obstruct the various inquiries into possible collusion between Moscow and his presidential campaign, leaving him vulnerable to criminal charges.

” He could be tweeting himself into an blockage of justice sentence ,” said Richard Painter, a former ethics counsel to the George W Bush administration.

” That’s a confession of deliberate, corrupt obstruction of justice ,” said Laurence Tribe, a professor in constitutional law at Harvard University.

Moving to limit the potential injury, one of Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd, claimed “hes having” written the tweet, which he described as “sloppy”.

Dianne Feinstein of California, the most senior Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, which is conducting its own Trump-Russia inquiry, said on Sunday that” what we’re beginning to see is the groups together of a suit of obstruction of justice” against the president.

” I see it most importantly in “whats happened to” the firing of Director Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation ,” Feinstein told NBC’s Meet the Press.” That’s obstruction of justice .”

The latest craze of activity from the White House followed Flynn’s guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with a sprawling criminal investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, who has already indicted two other Trump campaign officers for alleged crimes and accepted a guilty plea from a third.

Mueller’s decision to agree a deal with Flynn indicates that the former national security adviser holds evidence that could help Mueller prosecute even more senior figures for even more serious crimes, according to legal analysts.

Experts told the Guardian the wording of Flynn’s plea arrangement also left open the possibility that Flynn had already worn a wire or otherwise recorded conversations with other associates of Trump who are under investigation.

A central unanswered question is why Flynn lied to the FBI if there was not more serious wrongdoing that he was trying to cover up.” It is a dishonor because his actions during the transition were lawful ,” Trump said in his tweet on Saturday.” There was nothing to hide !”

Flynn falsely denied to FBI agents that he had recommended Russia’s ambassador to refrain from retaliating against sanctions on Moscow imposed by Barack Obama on 29 December, in response to Russian meddling in the election. While it is technically illegal for a private citizen to negotiate with a foreign government in dispute with the US , no one has ever been convicted of transgressing that 218 -year-old law.

Documents released by Mueller on Friday said Flynn was being directed around that time by a” very senior” member of Trump’s transition team. Multiple US news outlets reported that this was Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

Among issues being examined by investigators is whether any agreement existed between Russia and Trump- or senior Trump advisers- that Trump’s administration would act favourably towards the Kremlin in return for Russian assistance in the election campaign. US intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow mounted an influence campaign aimed at helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

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‘ No collusion’ between presidential campaign and Russia, says Trump- video

The New York Times on Saturday published details of emails from transition team members. One national security consultant, KT McFarland, wrote that Obama’s sanctions would complicate Trump’s relations with a country” which has just thrown the USA election to him “. The Times said a White House lawyer told it McFarland had been referring to how Democrat portrayed the election result.

Other comments made by Trump could also set him in jeopardy of obstruction charges. Several Republican senators have said Trump asked them to stop congressional inquiries into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

And after stating publicly that he had fired Comey for other reasons, Trump privately cited Comey’s pursuit of the Russia investigation as the reason, according to a leaked White House transcript.

” I faced great pressure because of Russia ,” Trump said.” Now, that’s taken off .”

On Sunday Mike Rogers, a Republican former Michigan congressman who served on Trump’s transition team, said Trump’s actions around the firings of Flynn and Comey were likely to be central to the outcome of the Russia inquiry.

” I do believe James Comey ,” Rogers said on CNN’s State of the Union.” I suppose James Comey is a very good man. I think his testimony is going to be credible .”

In a series of increasingly wild tweets on Sunday, Trump attacked the FBI and ABC News, which suspended veteran journalist Brian Ross for an error in his reporting on the prosecution of Flynn on Friday.

The president also confiscated on reports that Mueller fired an FBI agent from his team for having sent text messages critical of Trump during the election campaign.

” After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation( and more ), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters- worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness ,” Trump said in one tweet.

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How Trump uses Twitter storms to make the political weather

Causing a rupture with a close ally, endorsing a detest group, undermining a cabinet member its all in a mornings work for the presidents restless thumbs

Omarosa Manigault, reality TV starring turned political aide, snapped photos of the buffet and greeted staff serving eggnog. Sean Hannity ,~ ATAGEND talkshow host, held court with multiple colleagues from conservative Fox News. John Kelly, chief of staff, chatted to journalists and military veterans in the East Room. A 200 lb gingerbread White House, with 20 lb of icing, stood beneath a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. A copy of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, read by President Franklin Roosevelt to his family, was displayed in the library.

At first glance, Friday’s White House Christmas reception was not so different from years past. But something was missing: the host. Instead of greeting guests and posing for souvenir photos like his predecessors, Donald Trump was upstairs in the White House residence- tweeting.” The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon ,” he posted at 3.12 pm ,~ ATAGEND referring to reports that his secretary of state would soon be axed.” FAKE NEWS !”

Eight minutes later, Trump and first lady Melania descended the red carpeted staircase- passing Franklin Roosevelt’s portrait along the way- to the grand foyer of the White House, where a marine band played amid snowy trees adorned with miniature crystal nutcrackers. The chairperson induced brief statements to “my friends in the media” and shook a few hands, but left after five minutes.

It was a sure style to avoid some awkward topics after another day, and week, that connoted the opulent splendour of the occasion was less wintertime wonderland than Titanic. That morning, Trump’s former national security consultant Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials. The previous day, there had been the reports about Tillerson’s expected demise. And before that, Trump had delivered one of his wackiest speeches yet-” I will tell you this in a non-braggadocious style. There has never been a 10 -month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished”- while pushing a major taxation overhaul and used a rite honouring Native American war heroes to mock a senator he has nicknamed “Pocahontas”.

” Something is unleashed with him lately ,” Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent of the New York Times, told CNN .” I don’t know what is causing it. I don’t know how to describe it. I guess the last couple of day’s tweets have been markedly accelerated in terms of seeming a little unmoored .”

Haberman, who has known Trump for years, added:” People are constantly saying,’ Don’t do things.’ He’s also a grown human. He’s the president. They can’t handcuff him. They can’t transgress his fingers to keep him from tweeting. They do tell him:’ Please don’t do this .’ He does these things anyways .”

The tweetstorms- that unrivalled glimpse into Trump’s id- raged with particular violence this week, triggering one of the most serious diplomatic ruptures with the UK since British troops torched the White House in 1814. It started when Trump shared three anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right abhor group Britain First. Theresa May’s office said he was wrong to do so. Then Trump fired back :” Theresa @theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine !”

In fact @theresamay belonged to a different girl; Trump rapidly realised his mistake and corrected it to @Theresa_May. The prime minister stuck to her firearms and reiterated that Trump had been “wrong” to retweet the incendiary and unverified videos. She was joined by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the( Muslim) mayor of London and even longtime Trump cheerleaders Piers Morgan and Nigel Farage. Yet the White House defended Trump and the press secretary, Sarah Sanders, saying she had come down with strep throat, ignored screamed questions from British reporters as she wound up a briefing.

US
US chairperson Donald Trump’s Twitter account in which he tried to tweet the British “ministers “, Theresa May. Photo: Twitter

Just as Prince Harry and performer Meghan Markle were planning an Anglo-American union, it seemed the special relationship was heading for the divorce tribunal. There were a requirement for May to withdraw the offer on the part of states visit she had rashly made to Trump when, hastening to Washington in January, she became the first foreign leader to meet the new president. A source close to the president said he still intended to visit but his next overseas trip would be to Latin America in April, and it will certainly not be before then. The source said Trump has spoken with May after recent terrorist attacks and described their relationship as positive.

The extraordinary spat refocused attention on Trump’s Twitter habit and its potential to wreak diplomatic havoc. It is true that, long after the fact, letters and telegrams exposed tensions in the relationship between wartime leaders Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, and records demonstrated how Ronald Reagan apologised to Margaret Thatcher for invading the former British colony of Grenada without her approval. But Trump’s Twitter barbs take place in real time and on full public display. It forced May to respond with sharp words and, some dread, could one day goad North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to respond with a nuclear missile.

Sir Christopher Meyer ,~ ATAGEND the former British ambassador to the US, said:” In all the time I’ve dealt with the United States, I’ve never heard a British “ministers ” “re going to have to” publicly rebuke an American president. John Major was furious when Bill Clinton awarded[ Sinn Fein leader] Gerry Adams a visa but he did not go public with it. I find that striking .”

There have been disagreements between America and Britain before, Meyer noted, including over the Suez Crisis and prime minister Harold Wilson’s refusal to send troops to Vietnam.” We’ve had passageways of disagreement but the majority of members of it has been beneath the surface and private. This is all in public and that’s unprecedented .”

Thomas Countryman ,~ ATAGEND a US foreign service officer for 35 years, said:” The UK and the US have had sharp disputes in the past, but I am not sure I have ever seen such a sharp disagreement over such a non-substantive issue and it cannot perhaps help the special relationship .”

He added:” This president has made a speciality of putting both American and allies’ envoys in a difficult situation .”

‘ Olympian lightning bolts ‘

Trump joined Twitter in March 2009, when the social media site was three years old. He has since posted 36,500 tweets( not all written by him personally) and has 43.8 million adherents( Katy Perry has 107 million; Barack Obama has 97.4 million ). He is following 45 accounts comprising mainly his family, White House staff, his golf clubs, Fox News journalists- and Morgan. He weaponised tweeting during the course of its bitter election campaign and has carried on using it divisively as president.

In January the New York Times observed :” While that habit generated conversation and consternation when Mr Trump was a candidate, he now serves as commander in chief and his 140 -character pronouncements carry the power of an Olympian lightning bolt .”

Trump’s very first tweet, in May 2009, promoted an appearance on a late-night TV depict. It was the work of Peter Costanzo ,~ ATAGEND who worked in marketing for the publisher of Trump’s book Think Like a Champion and was thinking of new ways to promote it.

” Facebook was already popular for publishers but Twitter was new ,” Costanzo recalled.” People didn’t really understand what it was or its potential .”

He spotted that there was an impostor already employing Trump’s name on Facebook and Twitter. He contacted Facebook and got the 200,000 adherents transferred to a new, authentic Facebook account.” But Twitter had no verification process and the book was coming out in three weeks .”

Costanzo went to Trump Tower in New York to propose a new Twitter identity for the billionaire businessman and Apprentice host.” I said, let’s call it ‘@ realDonaldTrump ‘. He actually seemed to like the idea. He liked the audio of it. I set up the account and uploaded the photo you still see today. I started tweeting benignly. It get adherents very quickly .”

Costanzo operated the account for about eight months until he left the publishing company. He has since watched @realDonaldTrump” take over a life of its own “. He continued:” The proof is in the result: he used Twitter as a way to really get people to feel he was talking to them and they elected him, they put him in office. There’s no arguing that for him it’s proved very effective in a positive way .”

Asked if he had unknowingly created a ogre, Costanzo responded:” Whatever style Donald Trump has chosen to use Twitter is patently his responsibility. It’s proven to be his number one choice for communicating the topics on his mind.

” I definitely recognise that I started something but one can’t construct predictions what route it’s going to go. It’s been a wild ride. Twitter has been a topic of dialogue every week during his campaign and now during the course of its presidency .”

On his wild Wednesday, Trump began tweeting at 6.32 am with a familiar plug for the Fox News display Fox& Friends, which he watches in the residency. The first retweet of Britain First-” VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches !”- followed minutes later, eventually earning a correction from the Dutch embassy, which noted the perpetrator was not Muslim. Idiosyncratic tweets followed throughout the day as Trump travelled to Missouri- he is known to tweet from automobiles and aircrafts- then the swipe at May arrived at 8.02 pm. He rounded off the day with another old trope, a dig at Barack Obama, at 9.23 pm.

Costanzo, who now renders and marketplaces volumes for the Associated Press, added:” This is the point of Twitter: the immediacy. You can get something out there whenever you want. It bypasses traditional media channels and allows people to share whatever they share .”

Donald
Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Photograph: Alex Brandon/ AP

But even some of Trump’s confidants believe he went too far with the Britain First tweets. Christopher Ruddy ,~ ATAGEND chief executive of Newsmax Media, who spent part of Thanksgiving weekend with the president at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, said:” I think it was mistake to send out the anti-Muslim videos. I have personally and publicly encouraged him to do a review process. I guess the tweets are hurting him in the polls .”

Ruddy’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears.” I think he feelings cornered by the media and this is his outlet ,” he said.” His attack on Theresa May was pretty gentle, fairly mild when compared to others .”

Not every tweet is Trump’s own run. Kelly takes little interest but the White House’s director of social media, Dan Scavino, has a hand in some. The humen met when Scavino caddied for Trump at a golf club in Westchester, New York. The Politico website reported :” He has said that he often taps out tweets for the president’s account as Trump dictates them, and he has a knack for simulating his boss on Twitter.’ Scavino channels Trump , not the other way around ,’ said a senior White House aide .'”

‘ Twitter is perfect ‘

Trump’s unapologetic embrace of Twitter attains perfect sense to his biographer Gwenda Blair, writer of The Trumps and Donald Trump: The Candidate.

” He’s a salesman and a salesman’s No1 technique is to keep the attention on him and frame what the conversation is and control what is being discussed ,” she said.” Twitter is perfect: it allows him to get out ahead of the news agenda. Although Twitter wasn’t around in the 70 s, that performance MO was already in place .”

The speed of Twitter enables Trump to outrun fact-checkers, Blair added.” There’s often speculation that various officials at the White House have tried to rein him in and calm him down, get his thumb off the send button. Perhaps. I think that’s in part wishful thinking because it’s like his magic wand. Why would they want to take it away? He’s used it to undermine the media, detach facts from truth, stimulates himself the arbiter of what’s important and cement that politics-of-grievance bond .”

Under any other president, the clash with Britain would have been able to dominated the entire week. In Trump’s world, it was quickly buried under an avalanche of fresh dramas. Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman turned Tv host, indicated the president is now” altogether detached from reality “. He said on the MSNBC channel:” You have somebody inside the White House that the New York Daily News says is mentally unfit. That people close to him say is mentally unfit, that people close to him during the campaign told me had early stages of dementia .”

But another explanation for the president’s boisterous behaviour, apparently emboldened, carefree of consequences ,~ ATAGEND may have been that he sensed a legislative victory finally in his comprehend. In the early hours of Saturday, Senate Republican passed a $1.5 tn tax bill that would deliver massive gains to corporate America and the wealthy.

True to form, Trump answered on Twitter :” Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas !” The message was posted at 2.49 am.

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Donald Trump attacks British PM Theresa May over her criticism of his far-right retweets

In rare clash between allies, US president tells May to focus on terrorism rather than on him but sends the tweet to the wrong person

Donald Trump has publicly rebuked Theresa May over her criticism of anti-Muslim propaganda, opening an extraordinary diplomatic spat between the transatlantic allies.

” Theresa @theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom ,” the US president tweeted on Wednesday evening.” We are doing just fine !”

Trump’s message came in response to criticism from the British prime minister’s spokesman over his retweeting of incendiary videos posted by the deputy leader of a British far-right group.

However, the “@ theresamay” Twitter managed that Trump targeted does not belong to Theresa May, the British “ministers “, but a woman called Theresa Scrivener. Minutes later Trump deleted and reposted the tweet, this time with the correct manage: @Theresa_May.

A
A screen shot of Trump’s Twitter account, with the original tweet. Photo: Twitter/ Screen shooting

The angry denunciation, crowning one of the most wayward days yet of Trump’s presidency, earned a swift putdown from the US senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who gratified May at Downing Street last week to discuss terrorism threats to both countries. He tweeted :” PM @theresa_may is one of the great world leaders, I have incredible love and respect for her and for the route she leads the United Kingdom, especially in the face of turbulence .”

The feud marks a new, unexpected spin in the ” special relationship “~ ATAGEND that has benefited from personal chemistry between leaders such as Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

There had been hopes that May and Trump – whose mother was British – would achieve a similar rapport. She was the first foreign leader to visit after he took office: they were photographed holding hands at the White House and she invited him on a nation visit to the UK. But that has yet to take place after a series of disputes and warnings that protesters will take to the streets to show he is not welcome.

Hostility in the UK deepened on Wednesday when Trump highlighted videos from the feed of Jaydan Fransen of Britain First that purported to demonstrate a group of Muslims pushing a boy off a roof. Another claimed to show a Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin mary, and a third claimed to show a Muslim immigrant hitting a Dutch boy on crutches.

The credibility of the last video was immediately undermined when the the Dutch embassy in the US said the perpetrator of the violent act in the video was bear and raised in the Netherlands. Fransen has been charged with using threatening or abusive language following an appearance at a far-right rally in Belfast this summer.

May’s spokesman made clear Trump’s invitation still stood but said it was ” incorrect for the president to have done this “. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, added:” UK has a proud history as an open, tolerant society& hate speech has no place here .”

The Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, described the retweets as” abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society .” He and several other members of parliament called for the nation visit to be cancelled.

The Labour MP David Lammy posted :” Trump sharing Britain First. Let that sink in. The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist dislike group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours. @realDonaldTrump you are not welcome in my country and my city .”

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, recommended Trump to remove the retweets. And Brendan Cox, widow of Jo Cox, an MP murdered last year by a man reportedly hollering” Britain first” as she shot and stabbed her, told CNN :” I think we likely got used to a degree of sillines, of outrageous retweets and tweets from the president, but I think this felt like it was a different order.

” Here he was retweeting a offender, somebody who was convicted of religiously exacerbated harassment of an organization that is a hate-driven organization on the extreme fringes of the far, far right of British politics. This is like the president retweeting the Ku Klux Klan .”

US Democrats joined the disapproval. Keith Ellison, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee and a Muslim member of Congress, branded the president” a racist “.

But the White House defended the retweets. The principal deputy press secretary, Raj Shah, told reporters on Air force One:” We think that it’s never the incorrect time to talk about security and public safety for the American people. Those are the issues he was raising with the tweets this morning .”

Asked if Trump was aware of the source of the tweets, Shah responded:” I haven’t spoken to him about that .”

The spokesman insisted:” The chairwoman has the greatest respect for the British people and for Prime Minister May .”

Trump’s new salvo echoed his criticism in June of London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, after seven people were killed and 48 injured in a terror attack in thecity. Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a western European capital city, hit back on that occasion and tweeted on Wednesday:” Britain First is a vile, hate-fuelled organisation whose positions should be condemned , not amplified .”

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Susan Sarandon: I thought Hillary was very dangerous. If she’d won, we’d be at war

Once the bete noire for the human rights , now the actor discoveries herself even more disliked by the left for refusing to support Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. She talks about Hollywood sexism, female empowerment and playing Bette Davis

Susan Sarandon at 71 is bright-eyed and airy, and perhaps shyer than she can publicly seem. When I walk into the room- a private members’ club in downtown New York, where she sits with a small dog at her feet- she doesn’t say hello or make eye-contact, devoting what I suspect is a false impression of rudeness. It may also be that she is uncertain of her reception. For a long time Sarandon was hated by the right, her protests against the Vietnam war and US aggression in Nicaragua and Iraq stimulating her the kind of target that, for progressives, is an affirmation of sorts. Her latest unpopularity, by contrast, comes exclusively from the left and is much tougher on Sarandon.” I’m not attacked from the right at all ,” she will tell me. Instead, she is accused of not checking her white privilege, of throwing away her vote on a third-party candidate( the Green party nominee, Jill Stein) during the course of its US presidential election, and of recklessly espousing a political cause that let Trump in through the backdoor. Liberals in the US, it seems, can summon more hatred for Sarandon right now than they can for Paul Ryan.

Most infuriating of all, to her critics, is that she won’t admit her fault. Sarandon’s very physiognomy indicates defiance; she looks indignant even at rest. She also appears a lot like Bette Davis, so much so that Davis herself, in her dotage, approached Sarandon to play her. That project never happened, but in the new eight-part Ryan Murphy series Feud: Bette and Joan, about the battle for Hollywood supremacy between Davis and Joan Crawford,Sarandon gets her chance. The two leadings are terrific: Jessica Lange, by turns monstrous and pathetic as Crawford; Sarandon steelier, smarter, less obviously vulnerable. She insures a lot of similarities between herself and Davis.” We’re both eastern coast ,” she says.” I didn’t consider myself a starring; I was a character performer from the very beginning and not really sold as fairly, which is probably what’s allowed me to survive as long as I have. I have this broader phase .”

Sarandon
Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford in Feud: Bette and Joan. Photo: FX

Sarandon is working well beyond the age at which women in Hollywood’s golden era could expect to carry on-” besides playing witches and bitches ,” she says. The interesting thing about Feud is that it tells an unavoidably feminist story about two women who would have abhorred that particular term. A few years ago, Sarandon herself said:” I think of myself as a humanist because I think it’s less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident bitches .”

” And then suddenly it became OK to say feminist ,” she says now.” That’s been very recent. There was a period when that wasn’t really happening. So now there’s been an opportunity to include men as friends. And I have to say, I remember going to the ERA[ Equal Rights Amendment] march where there were 100,000 women and we were going around talking to senators for this vote and I got on the elevator, and the women were like:’ We’re going to show them what the fuck we want .’ And I kept saying:’ Calm down, that’s not the route we’re going to get things done .'”

You thought it was counterproductive to be that angry?” It was counterproductive, clearly. But that image of the shrill girl became the definition of a feminist for a long time. And girls had a right to be angry, and to feel empowered. But that was just one glimpse of a somewhat emotional and strident definition, and there was a period when young women didn’t want that label .”

And now?” It’s come back, and it’s gotten warped, especially with the election, where if you’re a woman you have to support Hillary Clinton .”

Now, of course , no one in Sarandon’s industry would get caught dead having a flaky opinion on sexism in Hollywood. Still, the actor is cautious. One gets the help feeling that the Harvey Weinstein business simply isn’t very interesting to Sarandon, that there are other causes- the Keystone pipeline, fracking, oil and gas fund in politics- that she holds most urgent. She is no apologist for the Weinsteins of this world, but she can, at times, voiced positively libertarian about where the responsibilities of the women involved lie.

Sarandon
Sarandon listens to Bernie Sanders campaigning in Iowa, Jan 2016. Photograph: Chris Carlson/ AP

” There are a lot of people who did say no ,” she says.” I think the big question here is that if Harvey Weinstein uncovered himself to you when you were on a yacht in Cannes and you told everybody- this is Angie Everhart’s story– and everyone said:’ Well, that’s just Harvey’ and it wasn’t a big deal- those are the people who are perpetuating it, too. Now, I’m sure there’s a lot of men who were much smoother at seducing than-” she bursts out chuckling-” James Toback and Harvey Weinstein, who a lot of women felt very flattered to be sleeping with, even if they didn’t get the job. There’s just a culture, starting in the 60 s and 70 s, where there was a certain sum of liberation that attained it possible for those things to happen without even seeing yourself as a victim .”

One of the issue currently being asked is whether what Sarandon describes- the incapacity of many females even to conceptualise themselves as victims- is a function of “liberation” or internalised misogynistic refusal. For Sarandon’s part , nothing post-Weinstein has induced her reassess her own past.” Surely, I experienced both having people come on to me and being told that I wasn’t interesting enough to get a part, or sex enough, once they found out I was marriage ,” she says. She also admits she was lucky; that, unlike many of the women coming forward today, Sarandon’s resolve was never put to the test.” In my occurrence, I just said no, in many clumsy, stupid styles, but the people didn’t push on. They didn’t show up in my room. They didn’t corner me, or batter me, or get on top of me. It was an invitation:’ Yeah, why don’t you spend the night now that you’re here in the middle of nowhere on place ?’ And I said:’ No, I gotta get back to my room .’ But I didn’t feel super offended, because it wasn’t a thing that became super difficult .”

There were other hard things.” I remember another actually famous actress saying to me:’ Well, don’t have children because that’ll genuinely change the parts that you’ll be available for. And you won’t work past 40 anyway .’ And a lot of that has changed. And a lot of women are assessing how they feel; were they victimised or did they feel that it was their own option ?”

There is no question, she believes, that there are more choices today and that this is slowly correcting the imbalance of power.” More and more females are able to greenlight their own projects. My last few films have had females directors- they’re not the big blockbusters, but I’m not sure those big blockbusters are very interesting to direct. But there is definitely more power in the hands of women than there was- the Reese Witherspoons, who are getting books, groups together projects, telling women’s tales. I think that’s where the difference is. The culture itself is … it’s a tricky thing because you are selling yourself employing sexuality, and your seems, for the most part. And I think that when you have these men in positions of power, they assume that[ sex] runs along with it. And until you get women to have an economic power base- I entail, look at Brit Marling’s article[ in the Atlantic ], where she talks about being able to walk out of an uncomfortable situation with Harvey even though she detested herself for going in the first place, because she knew she could write and produce and direct. So when people find themselves as having their own power base, it becomes imaginable that you could turn someone down and still survive .”

With
With Geena Davis in Thelma And Louise, 1991. Photograph: c.MGM/ Everett/ REX

It is often overlooked that in 2001, Sarandon supported Hillary Clinton’s run for the Senate. There are photos of them posing chummily together, grinning. Then Clinton voted for the war in Iraq and it all went downhill. During the recent elections, Sarandon supported Bernie Sanders, then wouldn’t support Clinton after she won the nomination, and now all the moderates dislike her, to the extent, she says, that she had to change her telephone number because people she identifies as Hillary trolls sent her threatening messages.” I got from Hillary people’ I hope your crotch is grabbed ‘,’ I hope you’re raped ‘. Misogynistic attacks. Lately, I said’ I stand with Dreamers'[ children brought illegally to the US, whose route to legal citizenship- an Obama-era provision- Trump has threatened to revoke] and that started another wave .”

Wait, from the right?

” No, from the left!’ How dare you! You who are responsible for this !'”

I ask if she’s is conscious that Katha Pollitt recently called her an idiot in the New York Review of Books and she appears momentarily taken aback.” I’m flattered ,” she says. These people are furious with you, I say.

” Well, that’s why we’re going to lose again if we depend on the DNC[ the Democratic National Committee ]. Because the amount of denial … I entail it’s very flattering to think that I, on my own, expense the election. That my little voice was the deciding factor .”

Is it upsetting to be attacked?

” It’s upsetting to me more in terms of reasoning they haven’t learned. I don’t need to be vindicated .”

But it’s upsetting that they’re still feeding the same misinformation to people. When Obama got the nomination, 25% of[ Hillary’s] people didn’t vote for him. Only 12% of Bernie’s people didn’t vote for her .”

But she didn’t proponent voting for Hillary! Come on.

“Hmm?”

Didn’t she advocate voting for Jill Stein?

” I didn’t advocate people voting for anything. I said get your datum, I’m going to vote for change, because I was hoping that Stein was going to get whatever percentage she required- but I knew she wasn’t going to construct the difference in the election .”

Sarandon
Sarandon with Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer in The Witches of Eastwick, 1987. Photograph: Allstar/ Cinetext/ WARNER BROS

Does she have any sympathy with the critique that casting a protest referendum is the luxury of those insulated from the effects of a Trump presidency?” It wasn’t a protest election. Following Bernie wasn’t a protest .” Voting for Jill Stein was, by any definition, a protest referendum.” Well, I knew that New York was going to go[ for Hillary ]. It was probably the easiest place to vote for Stein. Bringing attention to working-class issues is not a luxury. People are really hurting; that’s how this guy get in. What we should be discussing is not the election, but how we got to the point where Trump was the answer .”( We should also, she says, inching towards the space where the extreme right fulfills the left, be discussing how” you can’t judge by the mainstream media what’s going on in the country. How did we lose all our journalists and media ?”)

Has she lost friends over all this?” No. My friends have a right to their opinions. It’s disappointing but that’s their business. It’s like in the lead-up to Vietnam, and then later they say:’ You were right .’ Or strangely, some of my lesbian friends were like:’ Oh, I simply feel bad for[ Clinton ]. And I said:’ She’s not authentic. She’s been terrible to gay people for the longest day. She’s an opportunist .’ And then I’m like:’ OK, let’s not talking here it any more .'”

Still, I guess while there was vast political error on both sides, the inability of Sarandon and her ilk to espouse the lesser of two evils permitted the greater of the two evils to rise. And yet I like Sarandon. It takes real heroism to go against the mob. Her inconsistencies are a little wild, but in persons under the age of social-media enforced conformity, I have never met anyone so uninterested in toeing the line.

Did she actually say that Hillary was more dangerous than Trump?

” Not precisely, but I don’t mind that quote ,” she says.” I did suppose she was very, very dangerous. We would still be fracking, we would be at war[ if she was president ]. It wouldn’t be much smoother. Seem whatever happens under Obama that we didn’t notice .”

It seems absurd to argue that healthcare, childcare, taxation for the non-rich wouldn’t be better now under President Clinton, and that’s before we get to the threat of deportation hanging over millions of immigrants.” She would’ve done it the way Obama did it ,” says Sarandon,” which was sneakily. He deported more people than have been deported now. How he got the Nobel peace prize I don’t know. I think it was very important to have a black family in the White House and I think some of the stuff he did was good. He tried really hard about healthcare. But he didn’t go all the way because of big pharma .”

It’s seducing to read some of Sarandon’s fervour as a reaction against her own family’s Republicanism- during the course of its Bush years, her now 94 -year old-mother was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly, and encouraged to theorize on where she went wrong with her daughter.( Sarandon’s mother would probably have voted for Trump, she says, but” I don’t think she got out to vote .” She smiles.” We didn’t facilitate better .”)

All of which builds the actor’s stance on feminism more puzzling. Sarandon is close to her three children- Eva Amurri, whom she had with the Italian film-maker Franco Amurri, and Miles and Jack, her two sons with her former partner of 23 years, Tim Robbins, with whom she is reportedly on good terms .. It was her daughter, Eva, who as a teenager didn’t like the word feminism, says Sarandon, because” it seemed redundant to have to say you were a feminist “.

But it wasn’t.

” No, but she grew up in a house where she had a mom who earned her own fund and was powerful and she’s in a progressive city, with other progressive children- she wasn’t even exposed to the more Republican part of Manhattan. So she was in a progressive bubble. I think the secret is maybe now we have to just say no one is going to fix it for you. It’s up to you to fix it. You have the strength. You shouldn’t turn to be validated by anyone, male or female. You carry your power within you, and if you surround yourself with people who respect you, that will happen, be they male or female .” It is a strange statement from someone who is therefore of the opinion that structural inequality requires political answers. Earlier, she makes the point that Clinton’s refusal to back the $15 minimum wage,” tells you she’s not a feminist, when 50% of the households in America are headed by women .” Clinton espoused a $12 minimum wage, with scope to raise it to $15 in metropolitan centres, but that’s not the point. The phase is self-validation doesn’t pay the rent .)

After the interview, we leave the club and walk towards the subway.” What was her name ?” she says.” In the publication ?”

” Katha Pollitt ,” I say. We component at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Sarandon disappears up the street, puppy under one arm, hat pulled low, deputy at her elbow.” Will I get a load more hatred when this article comes out ?” she shouts, looking back over her shoulder.

“Probably,” I say. I have a hunch she can take it.

Feud: Bette and Joan starts on BBC Two on Saturday 16 December at 9pm. The full series will be available on BBC iPlayer from 10.45 pm that evening.

  • This article was amended on 27 November 2017. Jill Stein was the Green party presidential nominee , not an independent.


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Tech capitalists wont fix the worlds problems their unionised workforce might | Lizzie OShea

Workers in the US tech sector are organising. They , not their billionaire bosses, provide hope that technology will improve the lives of the many, writes Lizzie OShea, human rights lawyer, broadcaster and writer

De-industrialisation and the Reagan-Thatcher years constructed trades union seem like a 20 th-century artefact. But evidence of a resurgence in workplace organising can be found in one of the most modern corners of the global economy: the US technology sector.

After the election of Donald Trump, thousands of technology workers signed a pledge against building government databases for targeting people based on race, religion, or national origin. The consequence was immediate, with numerous companies publicly proclaiming they would not cooperate with such a policy. Tech workers organised a protest outside Palantir, the data analytics company that received seed funding from the CIA and boasts Trump-supporting billionaire Peter Thiel as a founder and board member.

Such activists have a more nuanced understanding about the role of technology in the modern world than many of their bosses. They also comprehend their industry’s power to influence public policy. And their ranks are growing. The Tech Worker Coalition has become one focal point for radical politics in Silicon Valley. Established in 2015, it is part of a broader activist movement.” We want to give a voice to tech workers as a separate entity from their companies and their corporate PR, as often rank-and-file’ techies’ are lumped in with the CEOs and entrepreneurs of the industry ,” says an organiser with the coalition, Ares Geovanos.

Tech workers in Silicon Valley are not all elite graduates with high wages- many struggle with cost of living a matter that lead them to identify with more traditional sectors of the working class. Discrimination crops up repeatedly as an issue, particularly in relation to gender, with Google facing a lawsuit from former employees alleging disparities in pay and opportunities for women, as well as an ongoing investigation by the Department of Labor.

Relatively few US tech sector employers provide parental leave, sick leave and job security. These are bread-and-butter issues for unions, so it is no surprise that the work of organising labour has gained a new relevance. The coalition aims to organise not just technologists, but also collaborate with service and fabricating employees associated with the industry, some of them going through unionisation processes themselves.

This is not a movement that is confined to the US either. India has assured the flourishing of worker radicalism in the wake of recent layoffs in its technology industry. The New Democratic Labour Front( NDLF) has been organising itself among technology workers for 15 years, and recently formed an IT employees’ wing. In Brazil an organisation called Infoproletarios is growing, while the UK union Prospect says one of the benefits of its merger with broadcasting union Bectu was the opportunity to bring together digital workers in the creative industries with those in other sectors.

S Kumar, a representative from the NDLF , notes that in sticking with traditional approaches to organising, many trades union have failed to make inroads into sectors such as information technology. He argues that the NDLF is different, because of the emphasis it places on education.

This is especially important in an epoch in which a number of technology capitalism heavyweights are looking to impose themselves on other segments of society. Seemingly restless operating a platform used by billions, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has been conducting a tour of America that appears remarkably like a campaign for office. Tech billionaires are donating liberally to both sides of politics in the US, in defiance of the traditional perception of Silicon Valley as left-leaning. Thiel is well-known for his political activities, but he is not the only one: Trump’s now-disbanded advisory councils boasted numerous tech chief executive, including founder of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, and Michael Dell from Dell Technology. Sam Altman, wealthy entrepreneur and investor, has announced a plan to fund a squad in the next Californian elections.” My heart is on the left, but I’m a pragmatist ,” says Altman, who had said he is willing to work with both Republicans and Democrats.

While the primary role of unions has always been to fight for the rights of their members, organised workers also have a vital role to play in holding their bosses politically accountable. At a moment when hints of Zuckerberg’s aspirations are met with breathless excitement, tech employees are some of the best-placed people to offer a critical account of how their industry runs- and how its most senior figures might adapt to politics. They are adept too at undercutting the idea that we should look to tech entrepreneurs to solve social problems.

” Humanity faces actual existential menaces right now, like massive inequality or global warming, and these guys aren’t going to innovate us out of them ,” says Geovanos of the Tech Employee Coalition. Technological development has made a small group of people incredibly wealthy. More power for employees, rather than billionaires, provides access to the best chance for a future in which technology improves the lives of the many, rather than the few.

* Lizzie O’Shea is an Australian human rights lawyer, broadcaster and novelist living in London

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‘Women are pissed’: Trump protest turns to action and surge in female candidates

In the presidential race, some women bided at home since they are didnt want to vote against their spouses. Now they have had enough

In the months before Donald Trump was elected president, Tara Zrinski knocked on thousands of doorways in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley to talk with voters about environmental policy. She hoped that the conversations might help elect Hillary Clinton.

But some of her most poignant interactions were not about policy. They were about husbands.

” We heard females saying that they didn’t want to vote against their spouse ,” Zrinksi said.” That they weren’t going to vote because they didn’t want to cancel out his referendum .”

Trump scored a narrow upset victory in the county, which had voted twice for Barack Obama. Trump’s support among women in Northampton probably mirrored his majority support among white females nationally, local pollsters say. That support helped Trump grab the nation of Pennsylvania, and the White House.

The loss was devastating for activists like Zrinski. But it was also galvanizing, to an extent that has begun to look bad- maybe alarmingly bad- for Trump and Republican. Because one year after the presidential election, a wave of first-time female candidates stood for state and local office in Northampton County and across the United States- and they won.

” It was a huge Republican bloodbath, is the only term I can think of for it ,” said Peg Ferraro, a popular Republican who narrowly retained her seat on Northampton’s County council.

For the past year, the Guardian has been investigating Trump’s win in Northampton County for our series The Promise. As summertime has turned to fall, doubts have grown locally about whether Trump could win the county again, which could have implications for his national staying power. And girls are at the center of the story.

Tara
Tara Zrinski, an activist and first-time candidate now elected to the Northampton County council. Photograph: Mark Makela for the Guardian

Democratic and progressive women in Northampton County have been motivated by frustration with Trump, but their impressions of disenfranchisement go beyond the president, they said.

” I actually describe it as a kind of quiet rage ,” said Vanessa Williams, 35, a local activist and organizer.” And you see it explode every once in a while. It’s really come out a lot again with all the sexual assault accusations that are coming out.

” Women are merely pissed, frankly. They’ve had it. I think up to now it’s been a lot of talk of,’ There, there, we’ll take care of it, we’ll take care of you’.

” And it’s not happening. And women are realizing, I’ve got to step up, I’ve got to take care of myself, I’ve got to take care of my kids .”

Psychotherapist Lori Vargo Heffner, 56, has never held elective office, but in November she mounted a successful bid for Northampton County council on the Democratic side. The council controls a budget of $400 m and has jurisdiction over important infrastructure including bridges, a nursing home and a incarcerate.

” I guess women get energized ,” said Heffner in an interview in the deep-cushioned office where she advises clients.” I don’t want to give him the credit. I want to say it was watching Hillary lose.

Activist
Activist and organizer Vanessa Williams in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Mark Makela for the Guardian

” Watching an intelligent woman, who had every qualification for that office, lose. She seemed to have it in the bag, and still not be able to pull out the win- it was a shock. And I believe more females stepped up to say, I’m going to run for this office, even if it’s a small office. And other women emerged to help the people that operated .”

Zrinski, 42, won a seat on the district council alongside Heffner, to enhance the number of women on the nine-person council from one to three. She spoke with the Guardian over lunch hour at the Apollo Grill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

” There were people who, when I knocked on a doorway, said,’ You’re a woman, I’m voting for you, we need more women in office ‘,” said Zrinksi, a first-time nominee.” And I heard that theme a lot .”

Gains for women and Democrat were not are confined to Northampton County. Women won seven out of seven races for open judicial positions in Pennsylvania. Elsewhere in the US, “womens representation in” the Virginia country legislaturejumped by almost 50%. Democrats grabbed the New Jersey governor’s manor on 55% subsistence among women. The city of Seattle elected its first woman as mayor in almost a century.

Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University, said that girls made up 38% of all candidates in Northampton County’s 2017 elections – higher than normal, but not high enough.

Morning
Morning light illuminates a neighborhood in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photo: Mark Makela for the Guardian

” Those of us who are advocates for women in politics, we would love to see that number patently increase even more ,” Brown said.” But certainly it is a sign that women are indeed filing, operating and winning at higher rates in 2017 than they have in previous municipal election years, which is very exciting and promising .”

Over breakfast at Billy’s in Bethlehem, Williams said she believes that the situated of results has begun to lift the gloomines.” People were like,’ Oh my gosh .’ We actually had wins .”

But there’s a question on everyone’s mind: is it enough? Will the movement outlive the moment? Or does this look like another sure-fire victory for Trump’s opponents that turns out to be an illusion?

‘ What’s for supper ?’

In the eyes of his critics, Trump as chairwoman has demonstrated a aggression to girls , nominating hardly any women for important positions, resisting healthcare and family public policies that females champ and rejecting females the dignity of equals.

The fact that an ongoing national reckoning with sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men seems to have bypassed the president, who was accused during his campaign by more than a dozen women of having touched or kissed them without consent, only worsens the feeling of injustice and outrage.

There are plenty of Republican women in Northampton County, and Democratic women who voted for Trump, who continue to support the president. They say his 2016 foe, Clinton, was irredeemably corrupt, and that his offer of economic resurgence was better for women than her offer of identity politics.

Ferraro, the Republican county councilwoman, supports Trump, who she says has not been given a fair chance by the media. But she’s not confident that he would win in Northampton again tomorrow.

” If I were a betting person, I would say no ,” Ferraro said.” It depends who the candidates were. If it were Hillary again, I don’t know- it might be closer. But I’m not sure she could win .”

Lori
Lori Vargo Heffner, a psychotherapist, had never held elective office before she was voted on to the county council. Photo: Mark Makela for the Guardian

But Ferraro, 76, said a focus on girls per se in office was misplaced.

” I simply do not appreciate the gender thing ,” Ferraro said in a phone interview.” I think if they’re qualified, we all have to be judged equally. I think sometimes the perception is that women are a little bit more caring, women are a little bit more honest, trustworthy. But that was years ago, when I operated the first time. We’re talking the 80 s.

” At this day and age, I think that females have come into their own enough that I’m hoping that we can be looked at for our proficiency, and our skills- for what we bring to the table. Not just because we’re a girls .”

Heffner, one of Ferraro’s incoming colleagues, offered an resisting position, saying that women holding a career in public service still face unique challenges.

” I think it’s difficult to run for office as a female, and it’s going to sound so sexist, but it is still sexist ,” Heffner said.

” Because when I get done with a campaign event, I still have to go home and do the laundry. I walk in and my dad goes,’ What’s for supper ?’ I’m still expected to have those traditional roles, beyond my workday. Whereas I know that my colleagues who are male had spouses to support them and be home for them, and their wives were at the events with them.

” I don’t want to demean my male colleagues. People simply have different expectations of women, I believe .”

‘ You can vote ‘

Lizzie Morasco, 28, an activist with the progressive group NextGen Rising, knocked on 2,400 doorways before the elections this month, she said. She pointed out that Pennsylvania still has a long way to go in terms of equal representation of women.

Just 47 of 253 seats in the Pennsylvania legislature are held by girls, or 18.6%, good for a 40 th ranking nationally, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. There are no girls among Pennsylvania’s 20 members of Congress and zero women among statewide elected executives.

Lizzie
Lizzie Morasco, an activist with NextGen Rising. Photo: Mark Makela for the Guardian

Whatever barriers to entry there may be for women in Northampton county politics, they are not visible at a glance on paper. As the former home of Bethlehem Steel, the county has been a capital for industry in the country, but it is also a center for academia, with 11 regional colleges and universities. It matches “the member states national” average for women in the civilian workforce and tops the average in household income. It’s an easy day trip to New York City or Philadelphia and back.

And yet the barriers are still there, perhaps for the reasons Heffner suggested, or fashioned from deep-seated patterns more difficult to document. More than a year after she went door-to-door for Clinton, Zrinksi’s voice stiffened and her face blushed as she remembered talking with women who said they were turning their votes over to their husbands.

” You thought to yourself,’ Don’t you realize that you have a mind of your own, and that you can vote ?” she said.” You have the right to vote! Women fought for that right .’ And you think to yourself,’ If “thats what” women think in the Lehigh Valley, what do women think in other parts of the country ?'”

Judging by the election results, a lot of women in the Lehigh Valley, and in other parts of the country, were thinking the same thing. They were thinking it was time to elect more women.

But Heffner counseled caution.

” I think it’s a very good start ,” she said.” But you can’t get locked into the complacency of the win. Because next you have 2018.”

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As Leonardo masterpiece sells for $450m, Trump effort goes for slightly less than that

Presidents untitled piece, which illustrates the Manhattan skyline, scarcely cleared its minimum price of $5,000 at auction on Thursday and there were only two bids

On Wednesday, a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting sold for $450.3 m, rocking the art world and prompting hand-wringing over the soaring cost of premium works.

On Thursday, that same art world was given a reality check, when a sketch by the less celebrated Donald Trump sold for only $6,875 at an auction in Los Angeles.

Trump’s untitled piece, which illustrates the Manhattan skyline, barely cleared its minimum price of $5,000, to sell for $450,293, 125 less than Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi.

The president took on his project in 2009 for a charity event. Trump seems to have utilized either pencil or ballpoint pen for the piece, which measures 8in x 5in. The sketch shows what appear to be skyscrapers, alongside something representative of Empire State Building.

Nate D Sanders, the auction home handling the sale, presented the sketch in a 15 in x 18 in frame, along with a signed photo of Trump. Despite this, Trump’s describing failed to attract much attention among art aficionado. Sanders’ website demonstrated there were just two bids on the piece.

Trump is not the first legislator to have shown a flair for art- although others have had significantly more success.

George W Bush memorably took to the easel after his time in office, making a series of nude self-portraitsand a number of paintings of puppies. A volume of his oil painting reached the top spot on Amazon’s bestseller list this February.

In 2012 a Jimmy Carter painting, Live Oak at Sunrise, sold for $250,000. A piece by Vladimir Putin went for $1.1 m in 2008.

Trump, a self-described billionaire, is unlikely to have been pleased with the $6,875 sale. But he is not the first artist to have been underappreciated in their time.

Vincent Van Gogh lived in abject poverty before his death, aged 37, in 1890. Just this Monday, his scenery Laboureur dans un champ sold for $81.3 m at an auction at Christie’s.

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